MSA’s Efforts Yield Measurable, Meaningful Growth

News release posted Aug. 30, 2021 by Charlotte County Economic Development

Florida’s Punta Gorda-Charlotte County MSA rises to #11 in Milken Institute’s “Best Performing Cities” ranking.

A rise that lifts all boats: In this year’s Milken Institute Best Performing Cities Index, the Punta Gorda-Charlotte County MSA rose to #11 on the national Tier 1 Small Cities ranking, representing a critical milestone for the MSA’s ongoing efforts in economic growth and diversification, according to Dave Gammon, Director of the Charlotte County Economic Development Office.

The research of the non-profit Milken Institute is focused on applying market principles to help business leaders and policymakers pursue innovations that foster broad-based prosperity. In addition to job and wage growth, the annual Index looks at factors such as housing affordability and household broadband access.

“The ranking’s metrics are designed to give a more accurate and meaningful picture of community growth and livability,” Gammon explains. “It isn’t based on a one-size-fits-all model.  Instead, it’s focused on how well cities promote economic vitality relative to their peers. And there’s emphasis on important outcomes that make a difference in residents’ lives, an area where Charlotte County has excelled.”

In fact, Punta Gorda-Charlotte County was one of only a few MSAs to achieve year-on-year job growth, placing eighth in the survey for one-year wage growth and fourth for short-term jobs growth. Findings included: Job growth (2014-2019) 13.5%, job growth (2018-2019) 2.3%; wage growth (2014-2019) 33%, wage growth (2018-2019) 7.3%; short-term job growth (10/2019-10/2020) 2%; high-tech GDP growth (2014-2019) 58.6%, and high-tech GDP growth (2018-2019) 3.6%.

The Milken survey also noted that “careful planning and investments have led to improved local amenities” in reference to the strategic investment of the County’s recent 1% increase in sales tax. Gammon notes that the resulting enhancement to quality of life spurs greater growth opportunities.

“The data that propelled our high ranking shows that economic growth is a win for everybody in Charlotte County,” County Administrator Hector Flores points out. “It’s gratifying to see Charlotte County’s efforts succeed in creating an economic climate where large and small businesses can thrive, while maintaining affordability and public safety for our residents.”

Other cities in the Index’s Tier 1 Small Cities ranking included Charlottesville, VA; St. George, UT; Idaho Falls, ID; Bellingham, WA; Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, AL; Sioux Falls, SD and two other cities in Florida—The Villages and Sabastian-Vero Beach.